ABSTRACT: Persistent Jak/Stat3 signal transduction plays a crucial role in tumorigenesis and immune development. Activated Jak/Stat3 signaling has been validated as a promising molecular target for cancer therapeutics discovery and development. Berbamine (BBM), a natural bis-benzylisoquinoline alkaloid, was identified from the traditional Chinese herbal medicine Berberis amurensis used for treatment of cancer patients. While BBM has been shown to have potent antitumor activities with low toxicity in various cancer types, the molecular mechanism of action of BBM remains largely unknown. Here, we determine the antitumor activities of 13 synthetic berbamine derivatives (BBMDs) against human solid tumor cells. BBMD3, which is the most potent in this series of novel BBMDs, exhibits over 6-fold increase in biological activity compared to natural BBM. Moreover, BBMD3, directly inhibits Jak2 autophosphorylation kinase activity in vitro with IC(50)0.69μM. Autophosphorylation of Jak2 kinase at Tyr1007/1008 sites also was strongly inhibited in the range of 15μM of BBMD3 in human melanoma cells at 4h after treatment. Following inhibition of autophosphorylation of Jak2, BBMD3 blocked constitutive activation of downstream Stat3 signaling in melanoma cells. BBMD3 also down-regulated expression of the Stat3 target proteins Mcl-1and Bcl-x(L), associated with induction of apoptosis. In sum, our findings demonstrate that the novel berbamine derivative BBMD3 is an inhibitor of the Jak2/Stat3 signaling pathway, providing evidence for a molecular mechanism whereby BBMD3 exerts at least in part the apoptosis of human melanoma cells. In addition, BBMD3 represents a promising lead compound for development of new therapeutics for cancer treatment.
Molecular oncology 06/2012; 6(5):484-93. · 4.10 Impact Factor